Cryptonanus ignitus Diaz, Flores and Barquez, 2002:825

Red-bellied gracile (mouse) opossum



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Gracilinanus ignitus Díaz, Flores & Barquez, 2002:825 (original combination)


Invalid (synonym of C. chacoensis) (Teta & Díaz-Nieto, 2019)


Conservation Status

Invalid (synonym)

Last record: 28 March 1962

IUCN status: Extinct


This species is only known from the holotype collected on 28 March 1962 by F. Contino in the north-western province of Juyjuy. This is the first and last time the species was ever seen. Several subsequent searches failed to find any trace of the species, and most if not all suitable habitat has now destroyed by agricultural practices. However, Voss et al. (2005) hypothesized that C. ignitus may simply be an elderly specimen of C. chacoensis, even given the holotype of C. ignitus being significantly larger than any C. chacoensis that they examined, and slightly differential pelage colouration. The suspected synonymy was demonstrated by (Teta & Díaz-Nieto, 2019).



Juyjuy, Argentina


Biology & Ecology




Holotype: AMNH 167852 (old male)

Type locality: "Yuto, Departamento Ledesma, Juyjuy Province, Argentina (23o38'S, 64o28'W)"






Original scientific description:

Diaz, M. M., Flores, D. A. and Barquez, R. M. (2002). A New Species Of Gracile Mouse Opossum (Didelphimorphia: Didelphidae), From Argentina. Journal of Mammalogy 83(3): 824-833.


Species bibliography:

Diaz M. and Barquez, R. (2008). Cryptonanus ignitus. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.4. ( Downloaded on 11 December 2010.

Fisher, Diana O. and Blomberg, Simon P. (2012). Inferring Extinction of Mammals from Sighting Records, Threats, and Biological Traits. Conservation Biology 26(1): 57-67.

Flores, D. (2016). Cryptonanus ignitus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T41320A22177809. Accessed on 02 July 2022.

Gardner, Alfred L. (2008). Order Didelphimorphia. In: A.L. Gardner (ed.), Mammals of South America, 2 volumes, pp. 669. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA.

Lee, T. E., Fisher, D. O., Blomberg, S. P. and Wintle, B. A. (2017). Extinct or still out there? Disentangling influences on extinction and rediscovery helps to clarify the fate of species on the edge. Global Change Biology 23(2): 621-634.

Teta, Pablo and Díaz-Nieto, Juan F. (2019). How integrative taxonomy can save a species from extinction: The supposedly extinct mouse opossum Cryptonanus ignitus (Diaz, Flores and Barquez, 2000) is a synonym of the living C. chacoensis (Tate, 1931). Mammalian Biology 96: 73-80. [Abstract]

Turvey, Samuel T. (2009). Holocene mammal extinctions, pp. 41-61. In: Turvey, Samuel T. (ed.). Holocene Extinctions. Oxford, UK & New York, USA: Oxford University Press. xii + 352 pp.

Turvey, Samuel T. and Fritz, Susanne A. (2011). The ghosts of mammals past: biological and geographical patterns of global mammalian extinction across the Holocene. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 366(1577): 2564-2576. [Supplementary Information]

Voss, Robert S. (2022). An annotated checklist of recent opossums (Mammalia: Didelphidae). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 55: 1-74, 4 tbls.

Robert S. Voss, Darrin P. Lunde, Sharon A. Jansa. (2005). On the Contents of Gracilinanus Gardner and Creighton, 1989, with the Description of a Previously Unrecognized Clade of Small Didelphid Marsupials. American Museum Novitates, No. 3482: 1-36.


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